In a letter published today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki suggests that the video-sharing platform might embrace Web3 technologies, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are a way to certify digital assets stored on the blockchain, as a way to help YouTube creators make money. While no specific plans were revealed, nor was there any indication of when YouTube might begin testing NFTs, Wojcicki referred to the Web3 world’s innovations as a “source of inspiration to continue innovating on YouTube.”
“The past year in the world of crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has highlighted a previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans,” she wrote. “We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube.”
When contacted for comment, a YouTube spokesperson was unable to provide any additional information about the company’s plans to support NFTs.
YouTube, on the other hand, already has a number of ways for creators to show off their NFTs if they so desire. Today, the video platform includes a “merch shelf” option that can appear beneath a creator’s video, allowing them to showcase products such as apparel, collectables, plushies, vinyl records, and more from a growing list of supported retail partners. It appears that YouTube could collaborate with NFT platforms and integrate crypto wallet technologies to allow digital artists to showcase their NFT art on YouTube as well.
Alternatively, YouTube could choose to integrate NFT support more deeply into creator profiles in other ways or build tools specifically for creators working in this space to network and share their work.
It’s not surprising that YouTube is considering a move into the NFT space, given the fact that other social media platforms are following suit. Last week, Twitter added support for NFT Profile Pictures, which was its first NFT feature. Creators can use the feature to make a hexa-shaped profile picture of an NFT they own, which when clicked allows others to learn more about the art. Instagram, too, has stated that it is looking into NFTs. According to a recent report from The Financial Times, Facebook may be developing an NFT marketplace.
She also hinted that YouTube Shorts, its TikTok rival, would be expanding its “remix” feature, which currently only allows users to remix audio content from other public videos. Though YouTube was unable to provide additional information on this feature, it’s likely that the company is considering adding remixing support, similar to what Instagram has done. The CEO mentioned that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 5 trillion total views, which is a less interesting metric than the number of creators it has onboarded, which it did not reveal. It also stated that over 40% of creators who received payouts from the YouTube Shorts Fund were not already established creators in the company’s YouTube Partner Program, implying that Shorts was allowing a new generation of creators to enter the YouTube Partner Program.